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The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Saadya Chevan headshot

Hometown: Northampton, Massachusetts
Major: Philosophy
Minor: Music performance
Certificate Program: Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology
Activities: The College Voice, Philosophy Club, Hillel House

 

Favorite aspect of Connecticut College: 

The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology (CAT) is my favorite aspect of Conn. I was admitted as a student scholar to CAT in the fall of my sophomore year, and I’ve loved it ever since. The classes I’ve taken to complete my center requirements have taught me a great deal about what technology is and how it affects our society. They’ve also helped set me further on my path to a career in music and the performing arts. I’ve also been able to make new friendships and deepen preexisting ones by collaborating with the members of my class in CAT.

Favorite memory at Connecticut College: 

Playing principal clarinet in the pit during the opening night of the College’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical “Carousel.” It was a moment when seven weeks of hard work, long nights, and many discussions on the direction of the show finally paid off, and it was the pinnacle of my first year at Conn filled with high points. We also hosted a group of scholars and professionals whose work involved “Carousel,” so getting to play for them and hear their opinions on and experiences with the show was a real treat!

Favorite activity in New London or the region:

Catching a film or show at the Garde Arts Center, a beautiful old movie palace and auditorium in the center of town.

 

Why I Like Spelling Bee

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

As I write this post, I’m sitting in my room, listening to the Broadway recording of the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on YouTube. Just over 24 hours ago Connecticut College’s student theater community, Wig & Candle, closed their production of that play in Palmer 202, a black box theater and classroom space that is often used for student productions. The production was so popular that we had to add an additional late night performance. Although I have regularly attended Wig and Candle’s performances, this was my first time actually participating in one; I played clarinet in a reduced pit band of two.

 

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What It Takes to Survive Concert Season

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

There are many concerts and recitals at the end of each semester, produced by the music and dance departments, student bands or a capella groups, SAC (Student Activities Council), or any of the myriad student groups here. I should know because I usually end up playing in a few of the ones that the music department runs. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment in the semester. Playing in concerts is a fun and invigorating experience, but it’s usually time-consuming with rehearsals and preparation for each performance. It’s also a sign that the semester is getting close to the dreaded finals period. However, playing a concert is about more than just jumping onto the stage of Evans Hall. There are a lot of little things that go into it.

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What I Discovered on a Camel Day

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Touring colleges as an admitted student, when I knew that I could study at any of the fabulous schools I was looking at, made me examine them a little differently. Instead of deciding whether a school had given a good enough presentation for me to add it to my growing list of places to apply to, I was able to spend my time looking for small things that would influence my decision.

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Welcome to the Symphony

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

This past summer, I had an amazing opportunity to write program notes for the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO), a professional symphony orchestra that performs at the Garde Arts Center in downtown New London. Program notes are typically blurbs in the programs classical music concerts that tell the audience the history of the music they’re about to hear, and what they should look out for when listening to it. Through my work with the symphony, I’ve been able to make important professional connections and learn more about the world of arts administration, all while writing about and listening to some great music.

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Touring the Ammerman Center

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

‌This past fall I was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as a student scholar. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This is the second in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing during spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center (read post 1). 

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The Touring Clarinetist of Southern New England

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Connecticut College clarinet instructor Kelli O‘Connor poses for a photo with Jamie Bernstein and Kevin Rhodes of the Springfield Symphony.
Connecticut College clarinet instructor Kelli O‘Connor with Jamie Bernstein and Kevin Rhodes of the Springfield Symphony.

I’m afforded plenty of opportunities to hear my clarinet professor, Kelli O’Connor, perform at Connecticut College. Most recently, she played in two pieces in the music department’s February faculty recital, including Mozart’s well-known “Kegelstatt” Trio, and last December she was a featured soloist with the orchestra’s string section during our fall concert.

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The Election at Conn

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

This election year is an incredibly important and educational moment for the country and in my Conn experience. Like many of my fellow Camels, this is my first time voting in a major election, and I enjoy the support that we as students give each other as we make important decisions about casting our ballots. If you have the opportunity to vote this election you may feel, like I do, that selecting candidates who will do the things that you want them to do is tough, no matter how clear the outcomes appear. I have had several conversations with friends about the importance of learning about the candidates and issues when voting, no matter how polarized our politics. These conversations are important as I learn about becoming an informed and responsible citizen.

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Surviving my Ammerman Center Midterm

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Saadya explaining his project using the Visualization Wall in Shain Library
Delivering my midterm presentation at the Shain Visualization Wall. Photo by Assistant Professor of Dance Shawn Hove.

As a sophomore, I applied and was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, one of the five academic centers on campus that provides resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This year I’m working on my Senior Integrative Project (SIP). SIPs are year-long independent studies for seniors in the College’s four center-certificate programs that culminates in a final performance or installation from each senior in the spring. My project is to develop a piece of classical music where audience members get to participate. Learn more about my journey as an Ammerman Scholar.

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Sundae Sunday: A Sweet Start to Every Week

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Students pour toppings on top of their sundae's at Harris Dining Hall's Sundae Sunday event
The sundae bar

One night during Fall Break I decided to treat myself to a carton of Ben & Jerry’s from the corner store near my house. When I returned, my mom pointed out that eating ice cream must be a rare treat for me with my meal plan at Conn. “Of course not!” I responded, “There’s always ice cream available in the dining hall. We even have a sundae bar every Sunday.”

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Summertime Livin’ at Glimmerglass

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

A photo of the front of Glimmerglass’ Alice Busch Opera Theater.
One of the lovely pictures that I took of Glimmerglass’ Alice Busch Opera Theater while eating breakfast one morning.

As I’ve mentioned previously, this summer I was the public relations intern at The Glimmerglass Festival, an internationally acclaimed summer opera festival near the Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York. Glimmerglass presents four fully staged operas each season and many other events including recitals and lectures. My internship had many responsibilities, especially after the season began. I wore many varied hats including assisting with media communications and being the point person for the lost and found.

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Study Away with Fiete Felsch

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

It was great to have Fiete Felsch on campus for two days. He brought great energy to us right as we were preparing for break and slogging through midterms!

This semester I decided to compete in the Concerto Competition, which gives one winning student the opportunity to be featured in the Connecticut College Orchestra Spring Concert performing a concerto or vocal piece every year. My clarinet professor, Kelli O’Connor, and I had made a somewhat spur-of-the-moment decision in late January that I should enter it this year, so I could experience competing in it.

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Staying Positive with Green Dot Training

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Go Green 7! (the name of my group at the training)

“You must be the change you wish to see.” – M. K. Ghandi

I live my life by this quote because it challenges me to take action to make the world a better place. Its philosophy is also a driving force behind Green Dot training here on campus, which I recently completed. Green Dot is a national organization that works to prevent power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking, in communities throughout the country. I’m glad that Connecticut College has a robust Green Dot chapter, with about a quarter of students who have undergone training. My friends who completed the training encouraged me to do it for months, so when I got an email about a session that worked with my schedule, I signed up for it.

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Starting my Performing Arts Career

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Looking down the middle of the street. Cars are parked on either side and storefronts line the road. The stores melt into rocky cliff faces at the end of the street.
Not very long from now, I’ll be walking down this street every day! Source: Wikipedia

In March, I  accepted a position as a patron services associate with Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) in Creede, Colorado. But I still haven’t figured out how to explain to announce to all of my friends and family that I’m doing this. Perhaps it’s that I’m going through a phase where I barely use social media right now. I’m only logging into my Facebook account a few times a week, and I don’t feel like writing a self-congratulatory post about my future.

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Returning to my Origins

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

For two weeks in November, Connecticut College Asian & Asian American Students in Action (ASIA) hosted ORIGINS: An Asian Arts Festival, a first for both the club and Conn. The festival brought many amazing cultural opportunities to campus, including a lecture by internationally renowned Chinese artist Xu Bing, a food making workshop, and a student art exhibition in Coffee Grounds, one of the coffee houses on campus.

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Rereading To Kill a Mockingbird

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Books on display from the banned books reading and one of the speakers at the event
Lee Hisle, Vice President for Information Services and Librarian of the College, opening the reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, and some of the banned books from Shain’s collection.

I skim every email I receive, even newsletters that seem to come into my inbox solely for me to delete them. However, in a recent copy of “What's New at Shain Library,” a weekly newsletter detailing events, lectures and exhibits taking place at the College’s library, an announcement for a community reading of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” in honor of Banned Books Week piqued my interest. I contacted Carrie Kent, who organized the reading, and volunteered to read for 20 minutes near the end of the day.

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Reading Homegoing

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

The cover of the book Homegoing.
The cover of Gyasi's novel, "Homegoing."

Perhaps the passage I felt most at home within this summer’s Connecticut College reading, Yaa Gyasi’s graceful historical fiction novel “Homegoing,” came in the very last chapter of the book, which focuses on Marcus, a graduate student working on his doctoral thesis at Stanford University. A few pages into the chapter, the narrator explains that “Originally [Marcus had] wanted to focus his work on the convict leasing system that had stolen years off of his great-grandpa H’s life”. However, the narrator goes on to explain that Marcus felt he would also have to write about the Great Migration, which his grandparents participated in when they moved from Pratt City in Birmingham, Alabama, to Harlem in New York City. Writing about the Great Migration would in turn make Marcus feel he should also write about histories that had affected his father’s and his lives, specifically the effects of heroin, crack-cocaine and the war on drugs in Harlem.

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Playing with the Best

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

A view of the orchestra playing on stage at Conn.
The orchestra playing a dramatic passage at last fall’s concert.

The end of the semester is always a busy time for me, and, as I’ve previously written, one of the highlights of this period are the various music department end-of-semester concerts and recitals that I participate in. No matter how intense it gets, the end of semester orchestra concert is still a great highlight and culmination of my hard work. This past semester’s performance was particularly special for me as it presented an impromptu opportunity to play with some of the best musicians in the country—three members of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Band’s trombone section led by Sean Nelson, who is the music department’s trombone professor, in addition to Connecticut College’s own Gary Buttery on tuba, who served as the Band’s principal tubist from 1976-1998. The group constituted our orchestra’s low brass section for our performance of Antonin Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony.

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Passing the Torch

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Saadya and Jack stand next to each other and pose for a photo together
Me with my former student advisor Jack Beal ‘18 who came to the fall orchestra concert to play with us.

As a sophomore, I applied and was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus that provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. Learn more about my journey as an Ammerman Scholar.

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Organizing my Accounts

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

A photo of the Citizens Bank ATM at Conn
The Citizens Bank ATM at Connecticut College, where I normally withdraw cash when I need it.

One of the more time-consuming activities I’ve been engaged in as I prepare to graduate and move to Colorado for the summer has been changing banks. The last time I did this was four years ago as I was preparing to enter Connecticut College, when I switched my main account from a local bank in Northampton, Massachusetts, to Citizens Bank. Connecticut College has a Citizens Bank ATM. So it made sense for me to switch to this particular bank to avoid any potential ATM fees.

In June 2016, my mother and I went to the Citizens branch in Northampton to open a new checking account. After about an hour of work with a bank representative, I had a folder with details about my new checking account and other Citizens products, reminder card with my new bank account and routing numbers and receipt for a checkbook order that would arrive a week later. I was in business.

As I prepare to move to Colorado, I have realized I can’t keep banking with Citizens. The company’s westernmost branches are located in Michigan and Ohio, so withdrawing any cash while I’m in Colorado would incur needless ATM and bank fees. Before and during spring break, I started analyzing various online banking products as well as the benefits I have from bank accounts already open in my name, including one at Florence Bank, my local bank at home. I eventually settled on depositing my money with two different Internet-based financial institutions. I’ve mainly interacted with Citizens through Internet and phone-based services rather than going into any of their branches. So working with banks that do not have any public offices isn’t too concerning to me. All of these banks have little to no minimum funding requirements and usually allow me to withdraw money from anywhere in the nation without penalty. As someone who’s just getting out of College and trying to build a nest egg while also wanting easy access to my funds, this sort of set up is a relief.

I’ve also started to set up methods to save long-term including a small Roth IRA account, which allows me to start saving for buying a house and/or retirement while earning interest. One of the benefits of the Roth IRA plan over traditional IRAs is that I can withdraw money I initially put into the account (but not money earned in the account) tax-free anytime. While banking and making sure to save money can at times feel scary–knowing that I have a plan makes me feel secure about my future.

 

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On My Way to My Senior Recital

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Handwritten notes on paper
My handwritten notes from my meeting with Professor Elmer

This semester has been busy and challenging for me. I’m preparing a senior recital for the Department of Music to be presented Sunday, April 14, and I’m planning to perform my Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology Senior Integrative Project as part of that recital. This decision has set a major deadline for when the majority of the projects I’m working on for senior year need to be ready to be presented. While it's daunting to realize that I’ll soon be on the stage of Evans Hall performing an hour of clarinet music and my finished project for the Ammerman Center, I’ve realized as the recital nears that preparation comes in baby steps.

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